Dragoons 6-3 Podgórze: The Joy of Six

Krakow Dragoons FC celebrating a goal
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Dragoons Dragoons
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Podgórze Podgórze
Sat, 12 Nov 2022 14:00 Klasa A — Week 12
KS Prądniczanka Kraków

Recap

The Joy of Six

The Dragoons looked to return to winning ways as KS Podgórze visited Prądniczanka this weekend. The game saw former Expats captain Gonçalo Rodrigues in the starting line-up for the visitors, who would no doubt like to get one over his old side.

Gonçalo Rodrigues of Podgórze vs Krakow Dragoons FC
The Portuguese Pitbull — Gonçalo Rodrigues left the Expats at the end of last season and returned to play against his old side this Saturday

Enforced Changes

Following a poor first half in their last outing at Borek, a formation change saw a much better second half performance. With a whole host of faces missing for the visit of Podgórze, the Dragoons coaches decided to start with the 3-5-2 in an attempt to change their fortunes.

Gabriel Muñoz returned to the starting line-up for his 51st appearance for the club in place of Marcin Obyrtacz. Kuba Drobny and David Nicolas also came into the team for their first starts of the season. Simon Calabrese recovered from injury to complete the back three as Josh Dawson, Brian Lemmen and Michał Nowak all dropped out of the squad due to being unavailable.

Further changes saw Rob Smits drop to the bench with Szymon Urzędowski partnering Emre Çolakoğlu in midfield. Barry Chowaniec missed out through injury, with Flavio Nkola returning to the side to partner Alessandro Puerini in a striking role.

Krakow Dragoons FC starting 11 posing for a photo before the match vs Podgórze
Starting XI — Top Row L-R: Emre Çolakoğlu, Alessandro Puerini, Gabi Muñoz, Simon Calabrese, Kuba Drobny & Robert Ambrosie. Bottom Row L-R: Flavio Nkola, Szymon Urzędowski, Enrico Forabosco, Rohit Chandran & David Nicolas.

A Slow Start

A painfully slow start to the encounter saw both sides unable to exert any dominance. The Dragoons began playing the ball nicely, however, neither side could keep possession in advanced areas of the pitch.

The first action of note saw an unfortunate injury occur to David Nicolas. Podgórze played a long-ball forward with the Frenchman looking to head away Simon Calabrese’s miscued clearance attempt. The Italian looked to correct himself spectacularly with a bicycle kick, however almost took the covering Nicolas’ head off his shoulders.

A nasty looking cut developed under the utilityman’s chin, who spent time grounded after the challenge. After spending five minutes on the side-line, the Gallic hero returned to the pitch with an interesting looking chinstrap.

Top Bins!

The game burst into life moments after in the 15th minute. Enrico Forabosco attempted to put the ball into the left channel for Rohit Chandran.

A defender cut the pass out, electing to try and chest the ball down but a heavy touch played it straight to the feet of Flavio Nkola. The Angolan attacker shifted the ball onto his right-foot and sent an unstoppable drive from 22 metres into the top corner past the despairing dive of the visiting keeper Kacper Wilkosz.

Flavio Nkola of Krakow Dragoons FC blasting a shot from outside the box for goal vs Podgórze
Cannonball — Club Chairman Alex Băcica caught the moment Flavio Nkola unleashed a rocket to give the Dragoons the lead

Seven Heaven

It is often said in football, that a team is more vulnerable to concede just after scoring. This theory appeared to be blown out the water as the Dragoons quickly doubled their lead.

David Nicolas cut-out a misplaced pass and played the ball for Szymon Urzędowski to run onto. The Polish midfielder laid it out to the left into Nkola, who looked to work a cross into the box. The Angolan cut back and forth to bamboozle a covering defender, before sending a left-footed cross into the box.

Alessandro Puerini reacted quickest, peeling off a defender and controlling the bouncing ball with his right foot with a sublime touch by the penalty spot. The Italian assassin instantly swivelled and connected beautifully with a left-footed drive into the net for his seventh goal of the season.

Alessandro Puerini of Krakow Dragoons FC celebrating a goal vs Podgórze
Seven Up — Alessandro Puerini celebrates his 7th goal in 5 games to top the Dragoons scoring charts this season

Despite a lack of clear-cut chances thus far, the Dragoons had scored two goals with the first two shots of the game. Podgórze looked to come back into the game but failed to create any chances from a series of corners.

Off the Post!

The Expats had a great chance to add a third with 21 minutes played. Robert Ambrosie took a throw-in and threw the ball to Puerini’s feet. The Italian returned to Ambrosie who whipped a cross into the six-yard area.

Wilkosz completely mistimed his leap and flapped the cross to the back post where Rohit Chandran waited. With the ball bouncing awkwardly up off the turf, the Indian whirlwind attempted a close-range bicycle kick and saw his effort thump back off of the outside of the post.

Five minutes later, Nkola collected a Forabosco long-pass and dribbled forward. The Angolan drove past two challenges before being upended just outside the box by a third tackle.

Flavio Nkola of Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze
Flash Flav — Flavio Nkola accelerates past and opponent before being hacked down on the edge of the box

Dragoons Push for a Third

Both Forabosco and Ambrosie stood over the ball, with the Italian taking the shot. The midfield magician curled the ball at goal forcing Wilkosz to palm over his own bar.

Forabosco trudged over to take the corner himself and sent an arching ball into the box. Nkola battled to win the aerial challenge, with the ball bouncing off of a defender into the path of Calabrese. The centre-back acrobatically laced the ball into the turf, however, Wilkosz showed excellent reactions to push the attempt away for another corner.

Ambrosie took the kick from the right side, whipping the ball into the box with Simon Calabrese getting under it and nodding it towards goal. Nkola volleyed the aerial ball from six yards, however a defender at the near post bravely blocked the shot away.

Robert Ambrosie of Krakow Dragoons FC preparing to take a corner kick
Whipped In — Robert Ambrosie whips in a corner from the right which lead to a chance for Nkola

The Dragoons continued to press and a pass down the line from Nicolas found Chandran on the left wing. The Dragoons wing-back, cut past Rodrigues, putting the ball through the Portuguese Pitbull’s legs before whacking a shot all the way across goal and putting it out for a throw.

Visitors Come Close

From the throw, the visitors created their first chance of the game. Wilkosz punted the ball up field with Jakub Więcławek flicking it into the path of Wojciech Ochałek.

Ochałek got to the by-line, sprinted past Drobny and raced into the penalty box. A cross along the six-yard box just evaded the boot of Kamil Bartyzel and a big opportunity passed.

Kuba Drobny of Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze
The Hunt — Kuba Drobny sprints back to try and stop Podgórze’s Wojciech Ochałek foray forward

Two minutes later, Puerini latched onto a Drobny long-throw and crossed into the box. Nkola toed the ball into Chandran, who sent a return pass back to the Angolan. Nkola looked to grab his second of the game, but sent a powerful drive straight at Wilkosz. The visiting keeper showed strong wrists to divert the shot away, with Chandran being fouled out wide whilst chasing the loose ball.

Forabosco whipped the resulting free-kick into the box and Puerini again got a head to the ball. On this occasion, the Dragoons top scorer could not trouble the target and sent his header over the bar.

Alessandro Puerini of Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze
The Italian Assassin — Alessandro Puerini is a constant threat and always on the move in attack

Dangerman

Wojciech Ochałek caused issues for the Dragoons back-line a second time with 35 minutes played. The Podgórze man sprinted beyond Drobny and bypassed the outstretched leg of Calabrese. Gabi Muñoz came into action for the first time of the game, stopping Ochałek’s cross with his chest at the near post and Calabrese put the ball out of touch for a corner which came to nothing.

Podgórze attacking Krakow Dragoons FC's box from the left side of the pitch
Defending the Box — Simon Calabrese looks to stop Wojciech Ochałek from getting a cross into the Dragoons box

The Dragoons continued to dominate the game and created more chances as the first half drew to a close. Forabosco saw Wilkosz grasp an attempt into the box and later whipped in a corner that Puerini glanced forward. The header did not threaten the goal, and Drobny poked the ball back to Ambrosie out wide. The Romanian’s cross went across the box and landed back at the feet of Forabosco. The midfielder struck a first-time shot, but saw his outside of the boot effort whistle over the crossbar.

Further good work from Ambrosie saw the wing-back slide to intercept a pass, putting Puerini through on goal. The striker attempted to chip the ball over the head of Wilkosz from an angle, but looped the effort harmlessly over the target.

Robert Ambrosie of Krakow Dragoons FC
Mr. Consistency — Robert Ambrosie excelled in the right wing-back position for the Dragoons

Nkola At The Double

A poor goal kick from Wilkosz landed straight into the feet of Forabosco. Unchallenged, the midfielder passed to Puerini, who laid the ball back to Ambrosie. A perfectly weighted through-pass saw Nkola break the offside trap with a free-run to goal. Wilkosz raced off his line to close the gap, however, Nkola nonchalantly lifted the ball over his head to double his tally for the game and add the Dragoons third goal.

The half ended shortly afterwards with the Dragoons in the ascendancy. Both sides had been sloppy in possession and the Expats did not get out of the first gear. Like Borek against the Expats a week previously, the Dragoons did not need to work hard, but had been merciless in front of goal with their chances.

Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze on a sunny day with a few dozen people on the stands
Hold Up — Alessandro Puerini holds up the play for the Dragoons as the side look to go for more goals

Second Half

Podgórze made a triple change at the break in attempt to change their fortunes.

With the play settling down, the visitors began to find some rhythm. A long-ball forward saw Calabrese nick the ball off the toes of Więcławek, looping it back towards his own goal. Fortunately, no repeat of Nowak’s effort over his own keeper happened as the ball cleared the bar. The following corner saw the Dragoons clear forward but Podgórze continue to attack.

Another long-ball forward saw Ambrosie head away for another corner. An arrowed ball across goal found Tomasz Fedorowicz unchallenged at the back post. The defender headed back across goal and forced Rohit Chandran to clear away under his own bar. The headed clearance did not have any legs and dropped straight to Paweł Kwiecień inside the box. The half time substitute rifled a volley at the Dragoons goal, but screwed his attempt high and wide.

Rohit Chandran of Krakow Dragoons FC
The Whirlwind — Rohit Chandran put in an all-action performance, hitting the post in the first half

End to End

The Dragoons began to find better forward momentum as the second half progressed. A superb raking cross-field pass from Calabrese picked out Chandran free on the left-flank. The whirlwind played the ball into Puerini, who turned and found Nkola on the edge of the box. The Angolan spotted the run of the excellent Ambrosie, who smashed a first time shot over the bar. A really good move by the Expats.

Robert Ambrosie of Krakow Dragoons FC asking for the ball in the free space
Over Here — Robert Ambrosie in space and calling for a pass in an advanced position

The game began to see chances created at both ends of the pitch. A Dragoons corner into the box found the head of the ever-alert Puerini. The Italian made a firm connection with the ball but saw his effort land on top of the goal.

Straight down the other end, the Dragoons failed to clear their lines with Rodrigues heading Calabrese’s clearance forward. The ball landed to Kwiecień on the edge of the box and the attacker arrowed a first-time shot just wide of the goal.

Gonçalo Rodrigues of Podgórze vs Krakow Dragoons FC
Surrounded — Former Dragoon surrounded by his former team-mates on the edge of his own box

A missed tackle by Calabrese saw Ochałek look to break through on goal. Robert Ambrosie slid in bravely and took the legs of the Podgórze attacker before any further progress could be made. Fortunately, David Nicolas had been covering, as Ambrosie could have been deemed as denying a goalscoring opportunity. Krzysztof Niemirski stood over the subsequent set-piece and saw his effort narrowly miss the target.

With 64 minutes on the clock, Podgórze forced the Dragoons’ Gabi Muñoz into a smart stop to deny a goal back. A defensive header forward caught the Expats midfield high up the pitch. Ochałek poked the ball past the advancing Drobny and passed across the edge of the box to Więcławek. The Podgórze frontman hit a left-footed shot first-time, but Muñoz sprang to his left to push the ball away for a corner.

Podgórze Pull One Back

From the following corner, the visitors struck back to haul themselves back into the game. Więcławek took the kick and sent a deep cross to the back post evading both Calabrese and Drobny’s attempts to head clear. Paweł Kwiecień timed his run perfectly to run unchallenged and showed excellent technique to guide a volley into the net from inside the six-yard box.

Podgórze player tapping the ball to the back of the net vs Krakow Dragoons FC
Kung Fu Kwiecień — Podgórze pull a goal back from a corner kick neatly turned in at the back post

The Comeback is On…

Just a minute later in the 66th minute Podgórze instantly added a second goal to bring the score to 3-2. A quick throw caught the Expats out as Ochałek exposed the gap between the midfield and defence.

The Podgórze dangerman found time to turn and played a lovely pass to pick out the run of Jakub Marczak. The attacker, through on goal used the overlapping run of Dawid Zębala as a decoy and shaped as if he would take a touch first. In one movement, Marczak cleverly poked the ball first time under the onrushing Muñoz to score.

A Change of Fortunes

With the Dragoons beginning to look stretched, the coaches introduced Rob Smits for Szymon Urzędowski and the Dutchmeester looked to get involved immediately. A poor goal kick from Wilkosz landed straight to Chandran, who nutmegged Rodrigues a second a time to find Nkola. The attacker played a nice ball forward to find Smits, who put a cross-shot wide of the goal.

Smits’ introduction seemed to give the Dragoons a different dimension going forward, with the metronome making himself available in advanced positions for a pass and constantly on the move.

The next chance came from good reading of the game from Drobny to poke the ball forward to Puerini. The Dragoons hitman slid in a dangerous pass towards Chandran only for a defender to put the ball out for a corner.

Enrico Forabosco sent a swerving cross into the six-yard box looking for a Dragoons head. Flavio Nkola rose highest, sending a firm attempt goal bound. It looked like the Angolan would grab his treble only for an excellent point blank save from Wilkosz to deny the chance.

A loose ball in Podgórze's box vs Krakow Dragoons FC
Save — Kacper Wilkosz in the Podgórze goal denies Flavio Nkola from a corner kick

Debut

Moments afterwards saw Simon Calabrese withdrawn and Michael Lamb coming onto the pitch for his debut. With strong competition in the squad at the back, the Scotsman has had to be patient for his chance.

Back to the action, a neat exchange of passes saw Rohit Chandran send a tame effort straight at Wilkosz to save. The Dragoons seemed to be getting a firmer stronghold on the game as they pushed for more goals.

Rohit Chandran of Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze
Stretch — Rohit Chandran keeps the ball alive on the left side of the pitch

Lamb to the Slaughter

With fifteen minutes left to play, the Dragoons restored their two-goal advantage to bring the score to 4-2. The trusty left foot of Forabosco curled a corner kick into the danger zone. Wilkosz left his line to attempt to punch clear, colliding with a defender in the process and getting nothing onto the ball. It landed kindly into the path of Kuba Drobny in the six-yard box, with the centre-back hooking the ball towards goal. It looked as if the ball would drop into the net, only for Wilkosz to leap up off the ground and somehow get his fingertips to just stop the ball from going into the goal.

A loose ball from a corner kick inside Podgórze's box just before a Krakow Dragoons FC goal
Goal Bound — Kacper Wilkosz gets the slightest of touches to deny Kuba Drobny a first goal of the season

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. In a true “Chariots of Fire” moment, time stood still as the debutant and regular fan in the crowd Michael Lamb bravely charged like a Rhino, bulldozing his way through from the back post to plant a header (and himself) into the unguarded net for a dream debut goal.

Krakow Dragoons FC celebrating a goal vs Podgórze
Scenes — Michael Lamb is bundled after scoring his first goal on debut for the Dragoons

Flavio Fantastico

A ten-minute spell of dominance saw the Dragoons score a fifth goal in the 85th minute. It all started with a terrific tackle from Emre Çolakoğlu dispossessing an opponent in the Dragoons half. The Turkish man-mountain ambled forward and passed to the creative genius of Enrico Forabosco.

Emre Ozan Çolakoğlu of Krakow Dragoons FC surrounded by two Podgórze opponents
The Rock — The unbeatable Emre Çolakoğlu looks to shield the ball from the opponents down by the flank

The Italian midfield maestro clipped the ball out-wide into the path of the impressive Ambrosie. The Romanian played a quick give-and-go with Nkola to enter into the Podgórze box. The wing-back looked up, saw Nkola in space by the penalty spot and pulled the ball back to the forward. Nkola made no mistake with his finish, rifling a shot firmly past Wilkosz to secure a hat-trick goal.

Flavio Nkola of Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze
Hat-Trick Hero — Nkola has now scored 23 goals in 41 appearances for the Dragoons

It could easily have been six just moments after as Nicolas charged out of defence to intercept a loose pass. The Frenchman’s first-time pass landed at the feet of Puerini, who strode forward with purpose. The Italian assassin sent a low drive from the edge of the box that beat Wilkosz all ends up, but flew just wide of the goal.

A further chance came for the Italian striker as Lamb picked out Forabosco out wide on the left. The midfielder crossed into the box and Puerini sent a weak header straight at the keeper.

Alessandro Puerini of Krakow Dragoons FC vs Podgórze
Imperious Puerini — The Dragoons attacker has proven to be a valuable asset for the Expats since joining in October

Little Too Late?

Wilkosz proceeded to smash the ball forward into the Dragoons half. David Nicolas misjudged the aerial ball, missing his clearance allowing it to run free. Wojciech Ochałek took advantage to run onto the ball and chipped it over the stranded Muñoz to grab a goal his performance deserved.

A host of changes saw Jordi Badolato, Andrea Latino, Piotr Hajnrych and Dragoons legend Dani Silva enter the game on 88 minutes. Hat-trick hero Nkola, the tireless Ambrosie, Emre Çolakoğlu and Enrico Forabosco all departed for the final two minutes.

Krakow Dragoons FC making a 3-player substitution
Changes — Ambrosie, Forabosco, Nkola and Çolakoğlu earn a breather late in the game

Podgórze should have added a fourth goal as the clock struck 90 minutes. Kuba Drobny threw himself at the ball in an attempt to clear his lines, however Ochałek hooked it away in front of the defender. It appeared that the visiting attacker caught the Dragoons man, who clutched his head whilst prone on the ground.

The referee continued play however, as Ochałek found time and space to turn and slot Marczak through on goal. The Podgórze attacker found himself with just Muñoz to beat, but the Chilean stopper stood strong to save the effort.

Latino Heat

After a brief period of pressure the Dragoons went on the offensive and scored a sixth goal. The move started with Rob Smits playing a pass into the feet of Andrea Latino. The Italian cut inside onto his left foot and blasted a shot towards goal that cannoned off of Jordi Badolato and into the path of Dani Silva. The Dragoons talisman sent a drilled ball across goal, which proved too hot for Wilkosz to handle.

Daniel Silva of Krakow Dragoons FC attempts a shot at target vs Podgórze
A Lenda — Dani Silva sends a vicious ball across goal in the build up to Latino’s goal

The ball dribbled to Puerini but Wilkosz recovered and bravely dived at the feet of the Italian to smother the shot. The rebound fell kindly into the path of Latino to follow up and tap home to score his first goal of the season.

Andrea Latino of Krakow Dragoons FC taps the ball into the back of the net vs Podgórze
Tap In — Andrea Latino grabs his first goal of the season and the Dragoons sixth goal of the game
Andrea Latino of Krakow Dragoons FC celebrates scoring a goal
Celebration Time — The Italian striker wheels away. Latino now has 2 goals in 7 Dragoons appearances.

Moments after, the referee drew a close to the game with the final whistle.

Victory Secured

Whilst not a vintage performance, the Dragoons had outplayed and outscored their opponents for a fourth win of the season. The change in formation, combined with a host of replacements in the line up saw a slow start. The changes will bring an interesting headache as the side played well in stages but the unfamiliarity did show at times.

Podgórze changed their game plan at half time, introducing three subs, and for a brief period in the second half, looked able to exploit the Expats. However, the introduction of Smits saw the dynamic of the game go back in the Dragoons favour as they kept the ball better further forward denying their opponents any time in possession.

Missing chances has cost the Expats dearly in previous games so far this season. On this occasion however, lethal finishing ensured a comfortable looking scoreline this time around as the Dragoons squad depth came to the fore.

Krakow Dragoons FC celebrating a goal
That Winning Feeling — The Dragoons have now won four games in the first part of the season

Following the victory, the Dragoons remain in ninth position in the table. They have once again closed the gap on the teams above them but face a tough test in their final game before the winter break.

Next Up

New joint league leaders Bieżanowianka Kraków come to Prądniczanka next weekend. Formed in 1925, Bieżanowianka are a side to be envied with excellent facilities along with a youth academy to produce young players. Recently, one of their talented young starlets signed for Wisła Kraków’s youth side.

A familiar face will hope to return to face his former side in Adrian Paliś. The striker had been with the Dragoons since their inception and is currently the all time leading top scorer for the Expats. The striker has found opportunities difficult for the Bieżanowianka first team, but has been in typically prolific form for their second side in B Klasa.

Bieżanowianka and the Dragoons have faced off previously in the 2020/21 season in the Puchar Polski. Vitor Pereira scored a brace with Flavio Nkola also notching, as the Expats fell to a 4-3 defeat to end their progress. The Dragoons have also played twice against Bieżanowianka’s second team, memorably securing the B Klasa title on the final day of last season.

The Dragoons will have to be at their defensive best as Bieżanowianka currently hold the best goal difference in the league. They have scored a whopping 56 goals and have the joint tightest defence with only 13 conceded. They have won nine, lost once and drew twice so far this season. After finishing in sixth position last year, the side look well to gain promotion to Liga Okręgowa for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Posted on Text: Dave Burch Photography: Alex Băcica Visual Editing: Daniel Silva

Dragoons

1Gabriel Muñoz (chi)
5Simon Calabrese (ita) 34
8Enrico Forabosco (fin/ita) 20
10Flavio Nkola (ang) 24 15', 44', 85'
11Rohit Chandran (ind)
13Kuba Drobny (pol)
15David Nicolas (fra)
21Robert Ambrosie (rou) 19
35Emre Çolakoğlu (tur) 29
93Alessio Sassini (ita) 17'
97Szymon Urzędowski (pol) 25
99Marcin Obyrtacz (pol)
19Piotr Hajnrych (pol) 21
20Daniel Silva (por) 8
24Andrea Latino (ita) 10 90'
25Rob Smits (ned) 97
29Jordi Badolato (ita) 35
34Michael Syska-Lamb (sco) 5 75'

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